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Latter-day Fathers

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Gerontissa Gabrielia

Elder Germanos of Stavrovouni

Stories from the Desert Fathers

On Good and Evil

On Lasciviousness

On Avarice

On Repetance

On Prayer

On Fasting

On Labour

On Confession

On Matrimony

On Holy Communion

Gerontikon of
Mt. Athos

Elder Joseph the Hesychast and the teaching of mental prayer which flowed
from his letters

Prayer of the heart for the Faithfull Living in the world

With the Fathers

On the Necessity of Constant Prayer for all Christians

Hermas: The Shepherd

First Vision

Second Vision

Third Vision

Fourth Vision

Fifth Vision

First Commandment


Third Commandment

Forth Commandment

Fifth Commandment

Sixth Commandment


Eighth Commandment

Ninth Commandment

Tenth Commandment



First Similitude

Second Similitude

Third Similitude

Forth Similitude

Fifth Similitude

Sixth Similitude

Seventh Similitude

Eighth Similitude

Ninth Similitude

Tenth Similitude

St. John Chrysostom - Homily on the passage <Father if it be possible...>

Symeon of
Thessaloniki -
All should pray in the
name of Jesus Christ

Basil of Caesarea - Letter 234 to Amphilochius

Basil of Caesarea - On the Holy Spirit 66-68

The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp

St. John Chrysostom Instructions to Catechumens

First Instruction (1)

First Instruction (2)

First Instruction (3)

First Instruction (4)

First Instruction (5)

Second Instruction (1)

Second Instruction (2)

Second Instruction (3)

Second Instruction (4)

Second Instruction (5)

St. John Chrysostom Three homilees concering the power
of demons


Homily 1

Homily 2

Elder Germanos of Stavrovouni

(These translations of the blessed Elder Germanos were translated by Fr. Nicholas Pallis for his parish in Pennsylvania and are being made available here with his permission as a service by the Monastery of St. Gregory Palamas in Hayesville, Ohio. They will be expanded frequently as time and opportunity permit.)


The Elder Germanos was born in the village Augorou of the eparchy of Ammochostos in 1906 of pious parents Nicholas and Margaret, of the Hatzigeorgi family. Reading the life of Saint John the Hut Dweller when he was young, he was urged to make the decision to follow the monastic life.

At age 16 he entered the Stavrovouni Monastery. He showed exemplary zeal and noteworthy obedience as a novice monastic. He received the prayer to wear the casssock at age 24 and from his original name George was renamed monk Germanos. He was ordained a Deacon the following year. He was tonsured a monk of the Great Habit at age 29 and was ordained a Hieromonk (Priestmonk) at age 38.

The purity of his life, his proven prudence, and administrative abilities served as the main cause for his election to abbot in the year 1952, when the abbot till then, the ever-memorable Elder Dionysios II, reposed. As abbot he was the first to set an example: first in guilelessness, in forgiving, in meekness, in patience, in service, in diligence, in silence, in participating in the sacred Services. He very diligently cultivated ceaseless prayer in his soul.

One of his chief virtues was conscientious obscurity. He avoided any projection of his towards the outer world, but also towards the people around him. He strove to hide his virtues with every diligence; for this reason as a rule very few were able to recognize the invaluable treasure hidden beneath his plain appearance. His ceaseless prayer with tears, his angelic standing before the dreadful Altar of the Lord during the time of the Divine Liturgy and the unique and unrepeatable example of his whole life gave forth a most wealthy spiritual fruitfulness, not only in his own Monastery, but also in the female Monasteries of Cyprus, which blossomed and were supported thanks mainly to his own struggles.

He was an excellent Confessor and Spiritual Father, and guided a multitude of people to repentance and to genuine spiritual conversion to the Lord. His whole life was a real living witness of the living Jesus.

His earthly life was sealed with a martyrical end. On the afternoon of August 31, 1982, on the last day of the Ecclesiastical Year and a day dedicated par excellence to the Panaghia, whom the venerable Elder exceedingly venerated, while he was returning from a hard day's work in the olive fields, driving the tractor of the Monastery, he fell into a steep valley, where he found, on his own and unaided, a martyrical death. With the end of the Ecclesiastical year the blessed Elder reposed, a genuine ecclesiastical personality, whose life essentially was a constant sacrifice, a ceaseless service. Undoubtledly he was transposed to the Altar above, where the unending Liturgy is served. The monks, who looked for him persistently all that afternoon, finally found him the next day, dead and in a prayerful position, with his feet and hands crossed, this also being a visible sign of his spiritual work, even during those last painful moments of his martyrical death, which like the pains of childbirth, introduced him to eternal life.


Concerning faith in God

Whoever overcomes his passions obtains strong faith.

Strong faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It is granted richly only to those who have a heart pure of passions.

We should believe in Christ with all our heart. Thus the intellect is enlightened and sins are overcome. Our passions are wiped out, our spirit calms down, our whole being is enlivened.

True faith exists, just as false faith exists. True faith shows at the time of temptation. False faith blossoms only at the time of comforts and withers at the time of trial.

Do you pray with faith? You are heard! Do you repent with faith? You receive mercy! Do you confess with faith? You are forgiven. Do you forbear with faith? You are sanctified!

"I believe in Christ" means I trust Him in everything. I do not alter, even one iota, nor even one dot, from His teaching and from His commmandments! Otherwise I become a heretic! And the heretic is outside of the saving Ark. The flood will drown him.

In our works, in our words, in our thoughts, our faith shows.

What true faith achieves is proven very manifestly in the Lives of the Martyrs, the Monastic Saints, the Confessors, those practicing continence and all of the Saints.

With faith in the True God and humility, the passions of our souls are overcome, the demons, who strive to do us evil, are put to flight and in a mystical and supernatural manner they are unarmed.

"I believe in God" does not mean I should merely await or demand that God obey me, fulfilling my own will. "I believe in God" means I do obedience to God, fulfilling His own will, whether that seems pleasing to me or not. For this reason even in the "Our Father" we say to God, "Thy will be done...", and not "my will be done."

Concerning Divine Providence

In what can people harm us, when God loves and has forethought for us?

If you understand the love and care, which your parents have for you, think that the love and Providence of God for you are incomparably greater. Have this in your mind and never despair.

The illnesses which occur to you, in the hands of divine Providence are medicines, which heal your soul from the passions, the evils, sin. One accpets an illness as an opportunity for prayer and repentance as well. Now, that you are suffering from your illness, it is more difficult for you to sin. Now you are not satisfying the passions, as happened, when you were healthy. See your trial as the "narrow gate and grievous path" (see Matt. 7:14), which leads to eternal life. Glorify God, who with the Providence of His love allowed this temporal hardship, to open the path of eternity up to you.

Concerning hope in God

With fervent prayer, sincere confession, frequent study of the Holy Scripture and the Lives of the Saints Christian hope is made firm and strengthened in our soul.

The Saints had all their hope in the Lord and they were never disappointed. Let this be an example for imitation for us.

Don't give up, no matter if your passions and sinful thoughts fight you. Constantly set a new beginning! Say: "The Lord lives, for this reason I am not despairing."

For him who hopes in God, there never exist impasses.

He who doesn't hope in God seeks out false consolation in blurry philosophies, in sinful diversions, in harmful drinks, and even in drugs.

Prayer without hope is a ship without a compass.

What Christians are we, if we live "just as the rest who do not have hope?" (I Thess. 4:13)

He who works the Commandments of the Lord, hopes also in the payment. Because the Lord says: "Your reward is great in the heavens." (Matt. 5:12) He may address himself to our Christ and tell him: "May your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped upon you." (Ps. 32:22)

Concerning Love

He who struggles to obtain perfect love, both towards God, as well as towards his neighbor, he can confess our Lord Jesus Christ "in the Holy Spirit."

You must believe that God loves you, even if all people reject you and if everyone abandons you.

The more you struggle to love God, all the more He reveals Himself to you!

There is Godly love, but there also is the diabolical love! There is Godly hate but there also exists diabolical hate.

Godly love is that which springs from the keeping of God's commandments. Diabolical love is demonic, pleasure-loving, passionate. Godly hate is hate against sin. Diabolical hate is against whatsoever fellow man of ours, even against our enemy.

He who has wickedness, tastes death, whereas he who has love, tastes eternal life. There is not place of residence in the Kingdom of the heavens for those, who don't have room for love in their soul for their enemies.

Concerning the Fear of God

The fear of God leads man to practice His commandments. And whoever practices God's commandments will be loved by God, and will be particularly loved by Him. Because the Scripture says: "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me." (John 14:21)

When we fear God, it is precisely then that we don't fear, neither people, nor demons!

First of all we should fear God. And through the fear of the Lord, we will reach to His love, which the Scripture says, "casts out fear." (I John 4:18) Just as Anthony the Great also said: "I no longer fear God, but I love Him."

The person who doesn't fear God ends up a plaything of the demons. He rolls in his passions and tumbles down to every type of evil. He will fear God however at the time of Judgment! But then unfortunately it will be hence very late.

The fear of God is a great virtue. It leads us to repentance and guards us from falls.

The foundation of the spiritual life is "the fear of the Lord."

Concerning Prayer

It is impossible to obtain true prayer, if you previously do not leave every suspicion and evil suspicion against others.

If you want to learn to pray, first cut off talking a lot. Cast off furthermore even every superflous distraction from your life.

Undistracted prayer is that, during which, when you are praying, your intellect is attached to God.

He who sincerely loves God, proves it in action with the struggle he is doing to obtain pure prayer.

Prayer is the most noble mark of man. Prayer is the chief occupation of the intellect. Prayer is the most perfect nourishment of the soul. It is furthermore the manifestation of our love for the Lord, where He also with His example taught us this great duty of prayer.

Your prayer should spring from within your heart.

We cannot understand the value of prayer, if we don't taste its fruits.

When you pray, have in you the assurance that you will receive what is sought.

When we are praying, we should understand the meaning of what we are saying. We should not be praying in vain and our intellect be flying elsewhere.

Prayer without humility, self censuring and repentance, remains inactive.

Prayer is sacrifice. We offer our heart to God, and He pays us back with patience, sweetness, joy, peace!

Prayer should be done with realization and with humility. Then it cleanses the soul from the filth of sin. And when compunction and contrition come to the heart, then man is reborn.

Love for neighbor means to pray for him as you would pray for yourself if you had your own problem.

We should pray first for the Kingdom of God to come inside us, and not to stand at earthly and vain things.

It is not possible for man to offer pure prayer if he is overcome by passions of the flesh and if inside him he feels vindictiveness toward anyone whatsoever.

True prayer is not only for us to ask God, it is also to be grateful to God, to thank Him and to glorify Him.

We must pray not superficially, but rather contritionately, in order to be heard.

Even the mention in our prayer of the All-holy Name of God, of the Most Holy Theotokos, of the Martyrs, of the Monastic Saints and of all Saints causes us great joy, indescribable consolation, and peace in the heart.

Concerning humility

"I was humbled and (the Lord) saved me." (Ps. 116:6) We must always have this saying in mind.

It is not beneficial to be saddened when others criticize you. Sadness in these cases means that you have vainglory. He who wants to be saved ought to love to be scorned, because scorn brings humility. And humility delivers man from a multitude of temptations.

Humility, together with obedience and fasting, gives birth to the fear of God, and this fear of God is the beginning of true wisdom.

Whatever you do, do with humility, so that you are not harmed by your good works.

Humility is achieved with self censure, that is, with believing about your own self that essentially you have nothing good. O, woe to him who thinks his sins small. Surely he will fall into greater ones!

God looks upon the one who is "humble and of a contrite spirit." (Is. 66:2) But in order for meekness, stillness, and humility to come, toil is necessary. But that toil is paid! To obtain humility, according to my viewpoint, neither many prostrations (bending of the knees), nor many labors, are needed so much, but especially that your thought should descend downward, to reach the level of the ground! Then you don't have any fear of falling, because you are low. And even if you fall from on low, you will not suffer anything.

According to me, although, of course, neither do I read many things, nor do I do anything important, humility is the quickest path for man's salvation. Abba Isaiah says: "Accustom your tongue to say `forgive,' and humility will come upon you." Teach your tongue to say "forgive me," and even if you aren't saying it with feeling, little by little you will get used to it, not only to say it, but also to feel it inside you!

Persistently seek from God to grant you the gift of seeing your own sins only, and don't pay attention to the sins of others. "Grant me, O Lord, to see my own transgressions, and not to criticize my brother," says Saint Ephraim the Syrian.

The humble person considers himself "beneath everyone." For this reason he loves everyone, forgives everyone and especially does not criticize anyone.

Concerning repentance

"I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that You are the son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners of whom I am first," we read before Divine Communion (prayer 10). Not only should we say that we are sinners, but we must also mean it and believe it. This the true beginning of repentance! When we understand this, it is as if we have already traversed half the road, and only the other half reamins.

Nothing separates us so much from the knowledge of God's mysteries as boldness, laughing, jokes and humorous things. Because these are fireworks and crafts of the devil, to sink us into sinful thoughts and subsequently to throw us into forbidden actions. All these things comprise furthermore the outer courtyard of fornication. So, instead of these, reproach yourself, telling yourself: "O woe is you, my wretched soul! The hour of your death is approaching. Why are you pleased in those things, which you will abandon here, and you are sacrificing, instead of these, the eternal goods? Be careful, wretched one! Think of what awaits you at the hour of judgment, and repent for the sins which you have committed!"

Do you want to not sin? Always remember your death!

Wherever repentance is, there also is the mercy of God and hope for salvation. In the lack of repentance there exists a hardening of the heart and the path toward perdition. Unfortunately the world does not have true repentance. That is why it is walking toward destruciton.

Constant repentance is the way of life of the Saints.

Sincere repentance alters darkness and confusion of the soul into spiritual light.

The Lord said: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2) Repentance and the Kingdom of heaven cannot be separated. They are bound together and inseparable.

In order to be saved one must either never sin, or repent for whatever sins one does commit.

Concerning chastity and purity

Strive, as much as possible, for your intellect to be pure of filthy and wicked thoughts. See creation and glorify God, Who out of dirt created everything so beautiful! And, instead of being harmed by the observation of beings, rejoice and glorify God, Who created them all with such harmony and governs them with such wisdom.

Don't you know that sleeping a lot does not benefit anyone? It gives birth to lethargy as well as to temptations, mainly fleshly ones.

Continence from fleshly passions is the natural state, whereas, on the contrary, falling into fleshly sins is in reality something unnatural. Today however the world has been led astray so much, that it calls light darkness, and darkness light. It characterizes the continent and chaste as `retarded' and `backwards,' whereas those who roll in the filth of fleshly pleasures...it considers progressive! It admires and extols them! The age has come, which Anthony the Great mentions, when those who are foolish will see those who are chaste, and they will consider them as insane, not being able to discern that in reality it is they themselves who are insane!

The unnatural deviations of the Sodomites and Ghomorrians God punished in an "unnatural" way: with rain, not of water, that is, but of fire and brimstone!

Fleshly sins are an exclusively grievous mark of the person of apostasy. When man falls into such sins, he ends up even worse than the animals!

Our body is "the temple of God" (see I Cor. 6:19). For this reason, when we hand it over to fleshly sins, we defile that living temple. And it is written that "if anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (I Cor. 3:17)

Pleasure loving and flesh loving cools and wipes out love for God.

In olden times people felt shame when they fell into fleshly sins. Unforunately today these sins occur without shame. And, with the downhill path we have taken, the time will come when not only will they no longer be considered sins, but they will be praised! O woe and alas, when our society reaches that point!

Concerning fasting

Whoever cannot tame gluttony, he is enslaved subsequently to many other passions.

In food keep a measure. Not the extremes. Eat a little in set times, neither completely fasting without a blessing, nor eating a lot.

Fasting is the source of many blessings, whereas incontinence in foods is the source of many falls, and furthermore, fleshly ones.

The first created people transgressed the commandment of fasting and fell. Christ fasted and lifted us up.

Whoever does not fast does a great injustice to himself. He makes useless an important weapon against his passions, against the devil and against the deception of the world.

Fasting and prayer, when they go together, do miracles!

The fasting, tears and prayers of Saint Monica granted the Church a Saint Augustine! Do today's mothers live in the Lord? Do they fast and pray? How do they expect, without struggling themselves with these weapons, for their children to prosper in the spiritual life?

Many are they who have become gravely ill or even died from drinking too much and eating too much. No one, however, has suffered anything evil by keeping the fasts of the Church. On the contrary, fasting brings health, not only to the soul, but also to the body.

Concerning obedience

A good obedience is Godly obedience. This immediately "pays." As soon as you do obedience, you receive an internal joy, which satisfies the depth of your soul. And a certain Saint says: "Blessed is he who has the good obedience, because he becomes truly an imitator of the Master Christ."

Obedience is a virtue, which has the quality of immediately paying you a reward back. It pays you now also, but it will also pay you in the next life. You do obedience, and force yourself to perform that, which they command you. And this forcefulness you put forth, gives birth to joy in your soul. And this joy increases, when you know that the payment of your obedience awaits you, not only in this life, but also in the next one. Christ said: "While from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of the heavens is taken by force, and the forceful grab it." (Matt. 11:12) He did not say "receive the Kingdom," but He said, "they grab it." Grabbing denotes the painful manner and the lightning quick one. It's like theft. You must stay watching guard likewise, because it is possible within one minute to be given you a golden opportunity, for you to grab the Kingdom of the heavens. The Lord furthermore says: "There were I will find you there also will I judge you." (see Ez. 33:12-16)

For whatever you are doing your conscience should witness that you are working in God's service, and that God accepts your toil, and is rewarding you. If however you murmur, then the saying is implemented in you which says, "cursed is he who does the works of the Lord negligently." (Jer. 31:10)

Obedience, when it occurs as the Holy Fathers define, is equal to martyrdom! And you have great reward before God, when you exercise such obedience.

Concerning silence

Vain talking chases the joy-bearing mourning from the heart.

He who talks a lot, even if he is an orator, spiritually does not prosper.

For the silence, which you are asking me about, you must know that this does not lie only in the silence of the tongue, but especially in the silence of the thoughts. If that is your tongue is silent, your thoughts however are judging and condemning others, well! Then this is not silence. It is written somewhere: "You might be speaking all dayt long, and nevertheless internally have a blessed silence, because that is you won't be saying those things which are not proper. And you might be silent all day long, and nevertheless not be keeping silence God-pleasingly, because your thought is gabbing and criticizing."

Just as good silence exists, there also exists the evil one. Just as good speech exists, there also exists evil speech. Good silence is humble, internal, that which is accompainied by prayer, and fills the soul with joy. Evil silence is that, which is accompanied by cowardliness, internal criticizing, faintheartedness, grief, despair. Good speak is that, which says the correct and necessary things. Evil speech is vain talking, jokes, flattery, hypocrisy, anger, wrath, lewd talking, criticizing, slandering and all the similar things. So we must obtain "the mind of Christ" (I Cor. 2:16), so that we can distinguish when we must speak and when we must be silent.

Concerning studying

For this reason the Lives of the Saints were written: For us to study them, and for them to inspire us. For us to learn how the Saints lived, what they advise us, and we should act likewise.

Because many times the living examples are missing next to us, it is imposed on us to study the Lives of the Saints, for us to be enlightened.

With the study of the Holy Scripture, the Lives of the Saints, Evergetinos and in general Patristic books we can cleanse our intellect from sinful thoughts. These spiritual books, bring to our soul contrition, faith and calmness. They help us and inspire us in the struggle of life.

Concerning thoughts

Chase away sinful thoughts, so that they don't take root. If your thought brings an improper image to your imagination, chase it away as quickly as possible.

Don't pollute your body with foul actions and your soul with wicked thoughts, and then the peace of God comes to you. Then you will realize that in your soul God HImself dwells.

Thoughts are of three kinds: Spiritual ones, when for example you are thinking of death, the hour of Judgment, the future life and the like. Natural ones, when for example you are thinking of your jobs, your fields, or if it will rain etc. Wicked ones, when you are thinking pleasure lovingly, flesh lovingly, material lovingly, vaingloruously and in general in a maner which opposes God's will. Spiritual thoughts are like precious stones, whereas on the contrary wicked thoughts are something disgusting. If wicked thoughts come, let us not accept them, let us scorn them, let us not consent to them. We are not responsible if wicked thoughts come. Our responsibility sets out from the moment when, either we will accept them, in which case we perform sin, or we will reject them, in which case we perform God's will. God allows us to be tempted, for our faith to be tried, and to reveal if we really love Him. "Those who trust upon the Lord resemble the holy mountain, who are not at all shaken by the attacks of Belial." (Anavathmos of Sunday 2nd tone) Like the mountain, let us remain unshakable before the attacks of the wicked thoughts.

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